On June 9th, the United Nations Security Council voted to adopt a new resolution imposing additional sanctions on Iran. Twelve of the 15-member Council -- the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Nigeria, Mexico, Japan, Bosnia, Austria, Uganda, and Gabon -- voted for the resolution.
President Barack Obama said the resolution puts in place "the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government;" but, he emphasized, the sanctions are not directed at the Iranian people. "They will impose restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities, its ballistic missile program, and for the first time, its conventional military."
The sanctions "also put a new framework in place to stop Iranian smuggling and crack down on Iranian banks and financial transactions," he said. "They target individuals, entities and institutions, including those associated with the Revolutionary Guard that have supported Iran's nuclear program and prospered from illicit activities at the expense of the Iranian people. And we will ensure that these sanctions are vigorously enforced, just as we continue to refine and enforce our own sanctions on Iran alongside our friends and our allies."
Citing his efforts to reach out to Iran during the past 16 months, President Obama said the need for imposing new sanctions on Iran was not inevitable. The United States, along with its allies, had offered Iran the opportunity of a better relationship with the international community that could have reduced Iran's political isolation and increased its economic integration, provided that Iran live up to its nonproliferation obligations. But "time and again," said Mr. Obama, "the Iranian government has failed to meet its responsibilities.
"Iran concealed a nuclear enrichment facility in Qom that raised serious questions about the nature of its program. Iran further violated its own obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions to suspend uranium enrichment. Instead, they're enriching up to 20 percent. It has failed to comply fully with IAEA's [International Atomic Energy Agency] requirements. Indeed Iran is the only NPT [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] signatory in the world – the only one – that cannot convince the IAEA that is nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes."
"That is why the international community was compelled to impose these serious consequences," said President Obama. "These sanctions show the united view of the international community that a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is in nobody's interest and that nations must be held accountable for challenging the global nonproliferation regime."